New Survey of American Jews Shows Support for Netanyahu

On the eve of Benjamin Netanyahu’s first visit here as Israeli prime minister, a newly released poll shows that American Jews support the Likud Party leader.

Although about 31 percent of American Jews say they would have cast their ballots for Netanyahu in May’s election, some 62 percent now say they view him either “very” or “somewhat” favorably.

Nearly two-thirds of the 860 American Jews polled between July 2 and July 6 believe the new prime minister will continue to pursue peace, a process about 81 percent “strongly” or “somewhat” approve of as it was conducted by Netanyahu’s predecessors, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin.

The poll was released this week by the Israel Policy Forum, an American group established in support of the peace process.

Almost all queried, 98 percent, believe in the importance of a strong relationship between the United States and Israel, and 82 percent believe Netanyahu will maintain good, if not excellent, relations with America.

The continuation of the peace process is important to a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, according to 95 percent of those polled.

Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said they believe Netanyahu is sincere “when he says he wants to continue the peace process.”

The poll also found that some 63 percent were “concerned to hear about the new influence of the religious parties in Israel,” while 27 percent said they were “hopeful” about this development. Religious parties won 23 seats in the 120- seat Knesset in the May 29 elections.

Approximately 44 percent of those questioned identified themselves as Reform, 33 percent Conservative, 8 percent Orthodox and 14 percent as other categories, including Reconstructionist.

The poll, conducted for the Israel Policy Forum by Penn & Schoen Associates, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

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